From the excavations in Turin: an exhibition of 120 works tells about the Pompeii houses

Palazzo Madama, Pompeii.  Ph Perottino
Palazzo Madama, Pompeii. Ph Perottino
Palazzo Madama-Civic Museum of Ancient Art of Turin presents the exhibition Invitation to Pompeii, curated by the Pompeii Archaeological Park and by the Palazzo Madama. From April 8 to August 29, 2022.

In the majestic Sala del Senato, where Italy was made, an atmospheric path winds through the rooms of the most luxurious houses of the 1st century AD. Pompeii. C. through a selection of 120 works (furniture, statues, jewels, bronze, glass, decorative elements). Thus we enter – two thousand years after the tragic eruption in 79 AD, which destroyed lives, people and cities – in domus Novel, and discovered how it was decorated, what functions it had, what everyday life was like for the people of that time. and Turin, Augusta Taurinorumwho would have heard of it through the letters of Pliny the Younger to Tacitus, now pays homage to the old Pompeian city.

At the opening, the beautiful model from the late nineteenth century was made The house of the tragic poet, with its columns and Pompeian red base. We are entering an ideal domus and take a walk. Once past the entrance, here islobbyan open patio from which the house got light and water (gathered in a tub in the middle).

Landscape Silenus, 1st century AD Stabiae fresco, Villa Arianna
Landscape Silenus, 1st century AD, Stabiae fresco, Villa Arianna

The lobby was larariuma kind of shrine with an altar dedicated to domestic worship, where the guiding gods of the house, I Lari, depicted as engaged young men, a symbol of prosperity. Along with Lares, other deities protected the family such as Hercules, Mercury, Bacchus, Apollo and many others witnessed by small statues. It affects Sabatius’ hand in bronze, a votive hand with index and ring fingers bent as a sign of Latin blessing, especially in favor of women in childbirth.

Around the atrium, the various spaces, representative and private, were organized. We go into Triclinium, a room that often opens onto a garden, intended for lunches and banquets. There we ate, lying on three beds arranged in a horseshoe, of which we see a coming from Casa del Menandro, a domus very rich, extending to 1830 square meters. We see the iron stoves in which the food was heated, the bronze and marble tables on which they were placed, finely crafted bronze candelabra and oil lamps, appliqués, game cubes and many other things, including a wonderfully embossed cup with cupids.

Then we move on to Peristyle and in the garden, where he rested after lunch, among fruit and vegetable trees. Leisure and entertainment venues that the rich adorned with fountains, flower beds, nymphs, water jets, statues. Among the most beautiful nymphs was one of the Bracelet House in mosaic and glass paste, which reflected the water with light play in a garden overlooking the sea. Really fascinating, with its shell decoration and in the middle water elements, which led through a ladder down into the tub. And to reconcile the effects of Bacchus with the environment, here are magnificent marble statues of male nudes, two-faced statues with the face of the god, statuettes with satires, masks, cherubs with ducks and clusters of grapes (which later became Amorites from our renaissance).

Palazzo Madama, Pompeii.  Ph Perottino
Palazzo Madama, Pompeii. Ph Perottino

And then there was Cubiculum, Bedroom. Sometimes more than one, ie cubicula arranged around the atrium or in reserved parts of the house, they were used for sleeping, for erotic meetings, discussions on delicate matters. It was in the rooms that the madrons kept objects from toilets, mirrors, make-up, creams, perfumes as the poet Ovid tells us. And also gold jewelry, pearls, precious stones. There is a silver mirror, a pyx for cosmetics, a container with ointments in green and blue glass and then bone combs, make-up spoons and jewels: necklaces and bracelets of gold, sometimes with emeralds, earrings bar earrings in gold and pearls that clinking, basket earrings in gold and quartz or entirely of gold. And the rings? Of all types, in gold in the form of a two-headed serpent, or with precious stones.

There domus Pompeian had the walls covered with frescoes with faces of theatrical masks, cherubs, male figures, hunting and mythological scenes, sea landscapes, deities. Many found in the second half of the nineteenth century and divided into four styles by archaeologists today tell the painting of the time. The floors were also beautiful with very modern stylized mosaic decorations. All of this disappeared under the ashes in a matter of hours, as evidenced by the casts of the victims that we encounter at the end of the path. Among the more than a thousand found here are a few: a watchdog writhing on the leash, and two fallen men, one with his head in the other’s lap. A drama.

Palazzo Madama, Pompeii.  Ph Perottino
Palazzo Madama, Pompeii. Ph Perottino


Invitation to Pompeii
Turin, Palazzo Madama (April 8-29, 2022)
Organized with Glocal Project Consulting
Silvana Editorial Catalog
Opening hours: Monday and Wednesday to Sunday: 10.00 – 18.00. Closed on Tuesdays
Information: – ​​t. 011 4433501§
Reservations: 011 5211788 or via email to

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